Biodetection Technologies: Biothreat and Pathogen Detection Banner 2

The 23rd Annual Biodetection Technologies: Pathogen and Biothreat Detection is an internationally recognized meeting for experts in detection & identification of biological threats and man-made threats. This conference will address hot topics in pathogen detection, strategies and cutting edge assays and technologies for detection & identification of global biological threats. This event will feature stimulating discussions, perspectives of end users, high quality case studies and a friendly place to network with peers. We invite you to attend to learn from and network with the leading experts in biodefense from around the globe.

This event is followed by Knowledge Foundation’s Biodetection Technologies: Point-of-Care for Biodefense, being held from June 23-24, 2015. Together, these two events will provide three full days of comprehensive programming around biodetection technologies in biodefense.

MONDAY, June 22

Identification & Management of Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens of Bioterrorism

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee

8:25 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Michele Halvorson, North American Field Applications Manager, Pall ForteBio LLC


8:30 Pan-Genomic Technologies for Molecular Detection of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever

Charles Chiu

Charles Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Laboratory of Medicine / Infectious Diseases, UCSF School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Sensitive diagnosis of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), especially in the “eclipse” phase of pre-symptomatic/early illness, is key in promptly identifying infected patients for supportive treatment and preventing further spread of disease. Whole-genome sequencing of VHF agents using targetenriched next-generation sequencing and identification of gene expression classifiers to discriminate VHF patients from controls using global transcriptome profiling will be discussed.


9:00 Targeted Acquisition of Reference Materials AugmentingCapabilities (TARMAC)

Michael Smith

Michael A. Smith, M.Phil., Ph.D., PMP, Director, Critical Reagents Program, Medical Countermeasure Systems, JPEO, U.S. Department of Defense

The Critical Reagents Program’s (CRP) TARMAC initiative bridges the gap between the identification of disease events of interest and the evaluation and development of material solutions that mitigate the threats posed by associated etiological agents. TARMAC facilitates the establishment of relationships and processes required for the real-time transfer of biological materials from relevant outbreaks and established repositories.


9:30 Multi-Wavelength Spectroscopic Detection of Bacteria

Jacob Grun, Ph.D, Chief, Special Projects, Plasma Physics Division, Naval Research Laboratory

Co-developed with: Pratima Kunapareddy, Ph.D, Chief, Special Projects, Plasma Physics Division, Naval Research Laboratory

Multi-wavelength resonance-Raman signatures are used to identify the effects of growth phase and growth medium on bacteria. We find that spectra of the same bacterial species exhibit differences due to both growth condition and growth phase, but the larger differences reflect changes due to growth phase. Using a Pearson correlation based algorithm, we achieve successful identification of these bacteria in 83% of the cases.

10:00 Coffee Break

Advances in Nucleic Acid-Based Technologies for Pathogen Detection

10:30 Real-Time Genomic Characterization of Viral Threat Agents Using Nanopore Sequencing

Andy Kilianski, Ph.D., National Research Council Fellow, BioDefense Branch, BioSciences Division, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

The MinION™ from Oxford Nanopore is a hand-held, USB-powered sequencing platform that has recently been released for alpha-testing. The MinION™ rapidly and correctly identified virus in addition to genetically characterizing these agents, demonstrating the enormous potential of nanopore sequencing as a fieldable technology for pathogen identification and characterization.

11:00 Standardized Methods for Evaluating Biodetection Technologies with Mock Clinical Specimens

Robert Duncan, Ph.D., Principle Investigator, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Office of Blood Research and Review, Division of Emerging and Transfusion Transmitted Diseases, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

In developing biodetection technologies, a device’s ability to detect limiting amounts of pathogen in an infected or contaminated specimen must be evaluated. The types of pathogens, especially biothreat agents, are rare or impossible to find in clinical specimens. Standardized methods will be described for culturing the pathogens, spiking in blood or plasma and molecular methods for quantifying the pathogen content.

11:30 Pall Fortebio BLI Systems: Label-Free Pathogen Detection and Characterization 

Michele Halvorson, North American Field Applications Manager, Pall ForteBio LLC

Label free protein interaction analysis is a versatile platform for biomolecular interaction characterization.  Enabling complex characterization with minimal sample consumption, real-time binding patterns are observed to obtain sample concentrations, kinetic binding constants, or specificity information.  Bio-layer interferometry (BLI) allows for high-throughput biomolecular interaction analysis without the use of microfluidics which can be a significant advantage over other platforms.  Here we demonstrate the versatility of BLI and how it is being implemented in the biodefense community.  Using BLI, hybridoma clone selection and characterization is streamlined, and more informed decisions can be made compared to traditional techniques.

12:00 pm Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

Advances in Nucleic Acid-Based Technologies for Pathogen Detection (ConT.)

1:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

Andy Kilianski, Ph.D., National Research Council Fellow, BioDefense Branch, BioSciences Division, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

2:00 Development of Diagnostics Assays for Ebola Detection: Real-Time PCR to Next-Generation Sequencing

Timothy D. Minogue, Ph.D., Chief, Molecular Diagnostics Department, Division of Diagnostic Systems, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

Understanding of endemic pathogens in a geographic location aids in effectively utilizing diagnostic assays. This is especially true in regions prevalent for highly pathogenic viruses co-circulating with organisms that present with similar pathology. In this context, our group strives to develop improved diagnostics to allow for timely, accurate and robust diagnosis of Ebola detection and other diseases.

2:30 Microbial Detection Array Applied to Biodefense and Public Health

Crystal Jaing, Ph.D., Group Leader, Applied Genomics, Physical & Life Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array is a comprehensive DNA detection technology that contains probes to detect more than 8000 species of microbes including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The technology has been applied to vaccine safety, infectious disease, biodefense, and microbiome to rapidly identify known and emerging pathogens. The technology is a cost-effective and faster alternative than next generation sequencing.

3:00 GenArraytion MultiFLEXTM Molecular Assays- Your Platform, Your Targets, Your Fluors, No Ceiling TM

R. Paul Schaudies, Ph.D., CEO, GenArraytion, Inc.

GenArraytion identifies candidate genomic regions based on uniqueness and functionality. Target genomic regions are amplified using PCR chemistry. GenArraytion has developed multiple panels for the identification of biothreat agents, tick borne diseases, and hospital acquired infections. Panels consist of four to twenty individual targets and can be configured as complete or partial panels.

3:30 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

Rapid and Future Technologies for Biodetection

4:15 Label-Free Detection of High-Consequence Pathogens in Complex Mixtures

Bennett Goldberg, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Dept of Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

We have developed an LED based virus detection technology that offers capture and direct multiplexed detection of virus particles. Our technoligy allows the identification of viruses such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa that cause hemorrhagic fever directly from blood or serum with the need for nucleotide isolation and amplification. The technology has the capacity to do real-time detection of virus capture in a closed-system sample-to-answer format, enabling the delivery of point-of-need of sensitive detection technology in limited resource settings. 

4:45 RNA-Based Diagnosis of Antibiotic Resistance

Deborah Hung, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director, Infectious Disease Program, Broad Institute & Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, Harvard Medical School

Rapid diagnostics to rapidly identify a pathogen and provide drug susceptibility is critical for preparedness against bioterrorism. In particular, the need to generate real-time drug susceptibility patterns is mounting in the face of increasing natural antibiotic resistance and the possibility of engineered multi-drug resistant bioterrorist pathogens. The detection of RNA expression signatures can serve as such a diagnostic platform.

5:15 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

6:15 End of Day


Rapid and Future Technologies for Biodetection (ConT.)

8:00 am Morning Coffee

8:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Harshini Mukundan, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Team Leader, Chemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory

8:30 Universal Bacteriophage: A New Paradigm for Biological Agent Detection/Diagnostics

Shanmuga Sozhamannan, Ph.D., Technical Coordinator, Critical Reagents Program, Medical Countermeasure Systems, JPEO, U.S. Department of Defense

Currently, there are two general paradigms in biodetection: protein based immunodiagnostics and PCR diagnostics. In this talk, a third paradigm based on phage that addresses many if not all of the limitations of the currently fielded assays and instruments will be discussed. The general concept is to harness the specificity of attachment of phages or phage proteins to bioagents using a rapid high sensitive multiplex platform.

9:00 Reporter Phage Diagnostics for Clinical and Environmental Pathogen Detection

David Schofield, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Guild BioSciences, Inc.

We are developing ‘bioluminescent’ reporter phages for pathogen detection. The method is based on integrating the genes encoding bacterial luciferase into the phage genome to create species-specific ‘light-tagged’ phages. In the absence of a host, the reporter by itself, is unable to bioluminesce. If viable cells are present, the reporter binds to specific receptors, infects, and produces luciferase. Following substrate addition, ‘light’ is emitted which can be detected.

9:30 Next Generation Sequencing Based Approaches for Targeting Nucleic Acids
Kevin Shianna, Ph.D., Sequencing Specialist, Illumina  
Pathogen detection requires a quick, sensitive and inexpensive method for screening of samples. Combining nucleic acid based targeted methods with next generation sequencing allows for the rapid identification of pathogens. Approaches to target DNA and RNA (cDNA) will be described. 


10:00 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster viewing

Direct Pathogen Detection: Application of Biomarkers and Immunotechnologies

10:45 MAGPIX: The Future of Viral Immunodiagnostics

Randal J. Schoepp, Ph.D., Applied Diagnostics Branch Chief, Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is often utilized because of its relative simplicity and ease of use. The components, antibodies and antigens, can be a limitation when required in large amounts, as in the current Ebola outbreak. Today, we are developing assays that use monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins on the MAGPIX (Luminex Corporation) platform and take advantage of addressable magnetic bead sets to multiplex assays to detect and identify multiple targets in single wells.

SeraCare11:15 Integrating Non-Infectious AccuPlex Recombinant Virus Reference Materials into Biodetection Assay Development 

Catherine Huang, Ph.D., Prinicipal Scientist, Research and Development, SeraCare Life Sciences

Stable, noninfectious process controls enable laboratories to confidently develop and validate assays.  AccuPlex recombinant viruses offer several distinct advantages because they are mammalian, noninfectious viral vectors with extended stability, and offer the ability to multiplex large nucleic acid target regions into one virus.  

11:30 Site-Specific Conjugation to Fab Fragments via the Conserved Nucleotide Binding Site (NBS) for Enhanced Ebola Detection Capabilities

Nathan J. Alves, Ph.D., National Research Council Research Associate, Naval Research Laboratory; Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame

Site-specific Fab modification techniques are extremely limited and often require complex molecular biology based modifications. Described here is a site-specific UV-NBS photocrosslinking technique in which Fab fragments are immobilized to surfaces. This study demonstrates the oriented immobilization of biotinylated Ebola detecting Fab fragments (KZ52) yielding improved antigen detection sensitivity and lower limits of detection compared to commonly used immobilization techniques.

11:45 Targeting Amphiphiles: An Ignored Category of Biomarkers in Biodetection

Harshini Mukundan, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Team Leader, Chemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Many bacterial biomarkers are atypical amphiphiles (e.g. lipidated sugars). Detection of this disparate group of moieties requires methods that not only exploit their biochemical diversity, but also account for their interaction with host molecules in vivo. We will present methods developed by our team to characterize and detect amphiphilic bacterial virulence factors in clinical samples with exquisite sensitivity.

12:15 pm Lunch on Your Own

1:40 Chairperson’s Remarks

Amy L. Altman, Ph.D., Vice President, Biodefense and Protein Diagnostics, Luminex Corporation


1:45 The Future of Biological Incident Characterization – A High Level View

Gerald Epstein

Gerald Epstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Policy at U.S. Department of Homeland Security

In the event of a bioterrorist attack, officials will require information as quickly as possible about the organism that was involved, the environment that was affected, and the population that was exposed. Gathering and making sense of this information places great stress on environmental biodetection and clinical diagnostic capabilities. This talk will explore issues involved in providing the necessary information, including the role of biodetection and diagnostics.


2:30 Biodetection Systems—Solving for the Complex Challenges of Effective Surveillance, Timely Detection, and Accurate Attribution in a Fiscally-Constrained Environment

Matthew Shaw

Matthew J. Shaw, Vice President, CBRNE Defense, Battelle

Amid an era of evolving natural and man-made biological threats, the need for highly accurate and fast biodetection systems and effective point of care is critical. Matt Shaw will discuss the future of biodetection technologies in a fiscally-constrained environment, how they have evolved and how they must adapt to meet needs of the changing threat, how they are essential for effective point-of-care, and the potential impacts of regulatory hurdles on their fielding.


3:15 Diagnostics for the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise: The BARDA CBRN Diagnostics Portfolio

Donna Boston, Project Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), BARDA

BARDA’s mission, within HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is to develop and procure medical countermeasures that would mitigate the adverse health effects of CBRN incidents, antimicrobial resistance, pandemic influenza, or other emerging infectious disease outbreaks. BARDA’s diagnostics portfolio supports the development of rapid diagnostics to detect resistance, infection or onset of illness caused by these threats for the purpose of patient management and clinical decision-making.

3:45 End of Biodetection Technologies: Pathogen & Biothreat Detection

For more details on the conference, please contact:
Nandini Kashyap
Conference Director
Knowledge Foundation, a division of CHI
Phone: (+1) 781-972-5406

For partnering & sponsorship information, contact:
Sherry Johnson
Manager, Business Development
Knowledge Foundation, a division of CHI
Phone: (+1) 781-972-1359